The Pros And Cons Of Mob Mentality

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There is a commonality between some of the world’s most devastating and violent events like the Salem Witch Trials, the Holocaust, and the more recent, Charlottesville Rally. It is something that mobilizes their hate and violence, allowing their vicious crimes to be executed. These events and those just like them have all been cases of a mob mentality. Mob mentality, which can be interchangeable with herd mentality, is the tendency for people's behavior or beliefs to conform to those of the group to which they belong (Oxford Dictionary). It describes how humans are influenced by their peers to adopt behaviors while in a group setting. In its simplest form, it is people following other people. In most cases, the mob mentality has the tendency…show more content…
Based on this, it is a natural desire to be part of a group. Groups evolve to be unresponsive to changes in their environment and spend too much time copying one another, and not making their own decisions (Exeter 1). On a contained level, mob mentality could include fairly simple acts, such as following internet culture. It is the reason why people copy an absurd beauty fad no matter how outlandish. This is how trends circulate throughout the internet, reaching more and more people in a negative or positive light in a society because of this innate desire to be included and make people feel like they need to be one with the herd. On a larger scale, this human instinct can lead to negative and harmful actions especially in a discriminatory and prejudice environment. Although it is natural to want to be included, the cost of losing individual morals and values to the inevitable violence and coercive hostility due to this mentality is not worth satisfying that desire. However, disagreeing and defying a group can work only on occasion. It is helpful to refrain from these reflexes especially in a situation where the behavior of a group becomes abhorrent. But, almost inescapably, people start to feel compelled to give into these instincts and consequently give into the…show more content…
When people fall into these groups, they forget their personal morals and the individual values. Tamara Avant, a psychologist at South University, explains, “[groups] are less likely to follow normal restraints and inhibitions and more likely to lose their sense of individual identity” (1). The loss of identity furthers the process of acting out in a mob. For example, in Pat Conroy’s Lords of Discipline, the plebe system at the Citadel was trying to run a character, Bob Bentley, out of the institute by using the betrayal of brotherhood against him. The other freshman tried yelling, spitting, and hurting Bentley in an attempt to get him to leave. The main character, Will Mclean, did exactly that of everyone else. This scene was a perfect example where Will was compelled to spew and act out hate towards Bentley because the actions of a group, the plebes, affected his individual rational thinking. Will Mclean would not have committed the same actions if it was just himself. He later realized it was wrong and he should have defied the orders. Avant further explains the psychology of mob mentality by suggesting that “groups can generate a sense of emotional excitement, which can lead to the provocation of behaviors that a person would not typically engage in if alone” (1). When people join violent riots and begin to loot and torch places, they are suffering the effects of this
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